Note: This daily recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free daily email. Sign up here.
- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and cabinet officials gave an update on plans to prepare New Mexico for the “surge” in COVID-19 cases, especially for hospitals around the state. The state also announced expansions of those who can get tests to those who may be asymptomatic but have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus; household members of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and the state is recommending those who may be asymptomatic in nursing homes or other places where people are in close settings be considered for testing. Read our story here.
- Lujan Grisham extended the state’s public health order until the end of April in order to continue social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read our story here.
- The New Mexico Department of Health announced the death of a fifth person with COVID-19. The total cases are now over 300. Read our story here.
- The Navajo Nation announced seven residents have died with COVID-19, and total cases have reached 174, including 26 in New Mexico.
- Holloman Air Force Base announced someone on the base tested positive for COVID-19.
- The Republican Party of New Mexico and the Republican caucuses in the state House and Senate filed a lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to block efforts to implement a mail-in election for the upcoming primaries, which 27 county clerks and the Secretary of State asked for yesterday.
“Many states that use this process can scan the ballots for security, but New Mexico doesn’t have the technology,” Republican Party of New Mexico chair Steve Pearce said in a press release. “Vote-by-mail is inclusive and you cannot check signatures, whereas you must apply for an absentee ballot, which is tracked and requires identification.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican wrote about it.
- Democratic Party of New Mexico chair Marg Elliston joined 50 other Democratic Party chairs across other states, territories and Democrats Abroad to call for state and federal action to protect U.S. elections in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
- KUNM-FM reported on gig economy workers who increasingly find themselves deemed essential even as they lack health or employment protections.
- Rural hospitals, already struggling for funds, are now being hit again with the state’s ban on elective procedures, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. The procedures were stopped by the state to preserve personal protective equipment, but it means rural hospitals have seen a drop in patients.
- Doctors at UNM Hospital launched two clinical trials, for Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesivir, in an attempt to see if they work to treat COVID-19, KOAT-TV reported.
- Environmental groups and the state’s congressional delegation want the BLM to extend the comment period for oil and gas drilling plans near Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the Farmington Daily-Times reported. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association als supports an extension.
The All Pueblo Council of Governors also wants an extension.
- Auto repair shops are still open, according to the state’s public health emergency order, but bike shops are not. The Santa Fe Reporter spoke to those who use bicycles for transportation.
- The Las Cruces City Council’s effort to allocate money for economic relief could get a vote on Friday, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
- Santa Fe Municipal Court is delaying arraignments for minor traffic offenses until “sometime” in May. See the Santa Fe New Mexican for details.
- KUNM spoke about the homeless population and COVID-19.
- The Albuquerque Journal will host a 90-minute panel interview with Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the state Human Services Department; Dale Maxwell, president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services; Dr. Paul Roth, chancellor for Health Sciences and CEO of the UNM Health System; and Ron Stern, president and CEO of Lovelace Health System on Wednesday evening.
- An Albuquerque non-profit put two handwashing stations in the International District of Albuquerque for the area’s homeless population and hopes to put up many more, KRQE-TV reported.
- State police said education is the key to enforcing the state’s stay-at-home order, while the Ruidoso mayor said residents should stop spreading rumors, reported the Ruidoso News.
- The Farmington Daily-Times updated its list of meal distribution locations and times for students in the area.
- Payday loan stores, which charge up to 175 percent interest, are still open.
- UNM student employees will continue to be paid through the rest of the semester, the university’s president said, according to the Daily Lobo.
- The construction industry continues during the pandemic, KRQE-TV reported.
- In its Weekly Fishing & Stocking Report, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish wrote: “In this time of change, the Department would like to encourage anglers to stay home, mend equipment and prepare for the upcoming fishing season. In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will be sharing tips and tricks to help you be ready to go on future adventures. Each week we will feature some different flies, lures, activities or cooking recipes that can be done at home.”
- The Alamogordo Daily News wrote about the Roswell Air Center cleaning planes that fly into the small airport.
- The City of Albuquerque will be hit hard by the nearly complete drop in gross receipts taxes, reported the Albuquerque Journal.
- The COVID-19 pandemic means delays in wishes granted by Make-A-Wish New Mexico to children, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
- Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller encouraged people to fill out the 2020 Census while they’re socially isolated.
“While we appreciate the public health measures the Census is taking to protect their workers and the public, it means we need everyone to proactively go online, pick up the phone, or fill out the forms they are mailed to make sure they are counted in the 2020 Census. As Albuquerque responds to and recovers from the pandemic, that funding will be more needed than ever, especially in our most vulnerable communities.”
- The Las Cruces Sun-News spoke to area high school seniors, whose final year of public schooling has been derailed by COVID-19 closures.
- So far there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Grant County Detention Center. But the Silver City Daily Press reported that a nurse who worked at the detention center quiet because, in part, she believed the jail wasn’t doing enough.
- Santa Fe County will close its youth detention center, with those held there being sent to San Juan County’s facility, reports the Albuquerque Journal. The closure will save the county money, but could also house adult inmates if COVID-19 begins spreading in the county’s jail system.
- One of the stars of Stranger Things, the Netflix show which was supposed to film much of its fourth season in New Mexico before everything shut down due to COVID-19, donated 20,000 meals to The Food Depot in Santa Fe.
- The Roswell Independent School District is expected to have a continuous learning plan ready by Monday, reported the Roswell Daily Record.
- The state Human Services Department announced Tuesday that its Income Support Division and Child Support field offices will have limited lobby hours beginning April 1 to those who don’t have cell phones or internet access. Only five people will be allowed in the lobbies and they still encourage anyone who can to stay at home and access as much as possible through online or the phone.
- The deaf interpreter at press conferences for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is a UNM grad, and the university profiled her on Tuesday.